Posted 01-15-2004 at 06:53:38
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I knew that the minute I couldn't look out in the pasture and see Baby that she would be off having her kid. Sure enough, I couldn't account for her, so I went looking and found her on the south side of the pond, snuggled down in some brush, a brand new little kid at her side. It couldn't have been long since the blessed event, as the kid was still slightly damp and Baby was panting.
"What did you do?" I whispered to Baby. I squatted down and picked up the kid to se* it. It was a little nanny, thank goodness, a keeper. No hard decisions to make.
Baby bleated, maybe in answer to my question, maybe in protest that I was handling her kid.
"I'm not gonna hurt her....oh, Baby. you did a fine job. She's beautiful!"
I set the kid down, grinning as I watched her try to find her land legs. She stumbled this way and that, went down a time or two and finally planted one spindly little leg each north, south, east, and west and was able to stay up. She's got her daddy's ears. Billy is a La Mancha and has those little stubs for ears and it was clear that he had gotten to Baby before Brutus had, way back when she went into heat the last time. Otherwise she would have ears like a mule.
"Well," I picked up Ruby, (already named Ruby Tuesday, since she was born on a Tuesday), "you know the routine, come on."
I started to walk toward the gate carrying Ruby. Once a kid comes, I like to lock them and the mama in the hen yard where I know they are relatively safe from predators and I can easily go out and look them over if I want to. I stopped and turned around to check. Baby was not following yet. No matter how many times I do this I always have trouble getting the nanny to move after delivery, but she had to. With the smell of fresh birth on her she could attract a stray dog or bobcat and I wanted her in the hen yard as soon as possible. About that time Ruby let out a trembling little bleat and Baby clambored to her feet, bleating in return.
It was a slow process. I walked a few yards and stopped to make sure Baby was following, there was a constant dialogue between the mama and the kid, each checking the other's whereabouts. By the time I got to the hen yard, Baby was following closely and Ruby was sucking on my pinky finger and I could feel her sharp little molars way in the back of her mouth.
That big dumb red puppy of Fred's wandered up and I held Ruby down where he could sniff her and so I could gauge his reaction. At first he sniffed her head and stood stock still, his tail straight out at the back and I got a little nervous, but then he ducked his head, and bounded around in a circle, his tail wagging a mile a minute.
"See the baby?" I asked him. He cocked his head to the side and then went down on his chest, his rump in the air, his tail whacking his sides rythmically. "No, you cain't go in, this is the nursery. Git."
I let Baby in and then put Ruby down beside her and she immediately started searching for a nipple. Between Baby's front legs.
"Rookie." I said, grinning, and I spun her around, putting her head at the right end. Within seconds she was nursing away.
I crept out, closing and locking the door to the hen yard. Ruby nursed, getting that valuable colstrum and Baby set about working on the weeds that had sprung up in the hen yard, and once again I was reminded of what drew me to the country life to begin with.
There should be a photo of a baby la mancha goat popping up here somewhere.....